Discover the winter magic of Redding, California, a hidden gem just a short drive from the San Francisco Bay Area.

As the holiday season lights up the calendar, Redding emerges as a festive sanctuary, beckoning Bay Area dwellers with its unique charm.

This travel guide is your portal to the magical Redding Garden of Lights, a winter spectacle that brilliantly embodies the joy and wonder of Christmas with its radiant light displays.

Imagine a serene evening walk across the majestic Sundial Bridge, bathed in the soft glow of lights against the backdrop of a starry winter sky, offering a moment of tranquil enchantment.

Redding’s allure, however, stretches beyond its holiday glow. Nestled in the heart of Northern California, Redding is a mosaic of peaceful natural settings and a pulsating cultural milieu.

In this guide, I present a curated collection of Redding’s finest winter attractions, tailor-made for a weekend excursion.

These selections are not just any attractions; they are the quintessence of Redding’s winter charm, fitting perfectly into a brief yet unforgettable holiday retreat.

From idyllic nature trails to vibrant cultural landmarks, each chosen spot is a piece of the puzzle that forms a perfect winter weekend in Redding. T

Together, let’s discover the beauty and thrill that make Redding an essential destination for a delightful holiday getaway.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area! #Travel #NorthernCalifornia #NorCal #California #BayArea #SanFrancisco Click To Tweet

Redding’s Winter Highlights: Map of Top Attractions

Explore Redding: A Comprehensive Weekend Itinerary for Winter Travelers

DayMorningAfternoonEvening
Day 1Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Explore the museum, arboretum, and botanical gardens.
Shasta Dam Tours
Tour the historical and architectural significance of the dam.
Redding Garden of Lights
Experience the magical holiday light displays.
Day 2Shasta State Historic Park
Discover Gold Rush-era history and ruins.
Option 1: Burney Falls
Ideal for waterfall enthusiasts.

Option 1: Redding Civic Auditorium Show

Enjoy a cultural or entertainment event.
Option 2: Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Explore waterfalls, hike, and observe post-fire ecology.
Option 2: Stroll Across Sundial Bridge
A peaceful evening walk, enjoy the ambiance.
Option 3: Lassen Volcanic National Park
For snow lovers, remember travel is limited to foot or bicycle.
Option 4: Lake Shasta Caverns
For those interested in geology or cave exploration.



Celebrate Winter Holidays: Top Activities in Redding to Enjoy This Season

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Evening Glow at Sundial Bridge: Redding’s Architectural Marvel Under the Stars!

Redding transforms into a festive paradise from mid-November to December’s end, offering holiday-specific delights alongside its natural beauty.

Dive into this curated list of the top activities in Redding during the holiday season, where each experience is infused with the spirit of winter wonder, making your holiday escape both enchanting and memorable.

Ready for a weekend filled with winter magic? 🌟 Just a drive from the Bay Area, Redding offers 11 enchanting experiences from dazzling light gardens to serene nature walks. Find your adventure here! 🌉✨ #Travel… Click To Tweet

1. Redding Garden of Lights: Illuminating the Holiday Season

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Enter a world of wonder beneath the towering Sundial Bridge, as the Redding Garden of Lights welcomes you to a holiday celebration like no other!

Nestled in the heart of Redding, the Garden of Lights emerges as a beacon of holiday cheer, transforming the city into a festive wonderland.

As one of the most anticipated seasonal events, it invites visitors to embark on an enchanting journey through a landscape aglow with thousands of twinkling lights.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Family Moments Amidst the Festive Twinkle – Cherishing the Holiday Spirit at Redding Garden of Lights!

This spectacular display not only illuminates the night but also the hearts of those who wander its paths.

Each year, the Garden of Lights crafts a unique theme, weaving a tapestry of radiant colors and designs that capture the spirit of the holidays.

From shimmering tunnels to animated displays, the garden becomes a canvas for a dazzling light show, perfect for families, couples, and individuals alike seeking a touch of holiday magic.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Butterfly Light Displays!

The crisp winter air, filled with the soft melodies of seasonal music, enhances the experience, creating an atmosphere that’s both invigorating and cozy.

Beyond the visual spectacle, the Garden of Lights provides an array of enjoyable experiences.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Stroll through a starlit tunnel at the Redding Garden of Lights, where every step sparkles with the magic of the season.

Whether it’s sipping on hot apple cider or simply soaking in the warm ambiance of the light displays, there’s something to make every visit memorable.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Warm up with holiday treats and hot cider at the cozy festive stalls, adding flavor to your enchanting evening at the Redding Garden of Lights!

It’s not just a walk through a garden; it’s an immersive experience that celebrates the joy and wonder of the winter season.

The Redding Garden of Lights is more than just a holiday attraction; it’s a cherished community tradition that brings together people from all walks of life.

It’s a place where holiday memories are made and the simple joys of the season are embraced.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Luminous Garden Sculptures

As the lights twinkle against the night sky, they remind us of the beauty and warmth that this season brings, making the Garden of Lights a must-visit destination during your Redding winter getaway.

2. Sundial Bridge: A Picturesque Winter Walk in Redding

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
The Sundial Bridge pierces the clear blue expanse above Redding, a striking union of nature’s grandeur and human artistry

The Sundial Bridge in Redding is a marvel of architecture and natural beauty, offering a captivating experience year-round.

Its unique design and picturesque setting along the Sacramento River make it a standout attraction in any season.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
A Boat Drifts Under the Soaring Sundial Bridge

Whether you choose to walk its span in the crisp freshness of morning or under the enchanting glow of evening lights, each experience is distinct and memorable.

In the mornings, the bridge is bathed in the soft, golden light of the rising sun, casting long shadows and illuminating the Sacramento River below with a sparkling brilliance.

As evening descends, the Sundial Bridge transforms into a magical space. The lighting under the bridge’s glass walkway comes to life, creating a luminescent path that seems to float above the river.

Designed by the acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava, the Sundial Bridge is both an engineering marvel and a visual masterpiece.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
A Slice of Sky Framed by Architectural Splendor: Gazing Up at Sundial Bridge, Redding’s Tribute to Innovation and Elegance

Its distinctive sundial-like shape and striking white structure stand out against the clear blue morning sky and the night sky, offering photographers a captivating subject in varying lights and atmospheres.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Sundial Bridge Illuminated in Emerald Hues, a Beacon in Redding’s Night

The bridge also serves as a gateway to the trails along the Sacramento River, beckoning visitors to explore the natural landscapes that envelop it.

These trails provide a tranquil escape into nature throughout the year, offering opportunities to encounter local wildlife and enjoy the fresh, invigorating air.

Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, a photography enthusiast, or simply someone who cherishes a peaceful walk in a scenic setting, the Sundial Bridge experience is a highlight of Redding, resonating with tranquility and beauty in every season.

3. Turtle Bay Exploration Park: A Family-Friendly Winter Adventure

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Turtle Bay Exploration Park stands as a beacon of family fun and learning in Redding, offering a diverse mix of educational and entertaining experiences suitable for all ages.

This vibrant destination is a playground of discovery, where interactive exhibits, outdoor adventures, and live animal shows come together to create an unforgettable visit.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

At the heart of the park is its museum, a dynamic space filled with exhibits that span a range of topics from local history and science to art.

These exhibits are crafted to captivate visitors young and old, making each learning experience both fun and fascinating.

Whether it’s through hands-on activities or immersive displays, the museum sparks curiosity and wonder in every corner.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

The park’s wildlife center is a highlight, offering the thrilling opportunity to witness live animal shows. These shows are not only entertaining but also educational, providing insights into the lives and habits of various species.

It’s a chance for kids and adults alike to learn about wildlife conservation and the natural world in an engaging setting.

The park is also home to the delightful Parrot Playhouse, where colorful birds offer an up-close and interactive experience.

Beyond the indoor attractions, Turtle Bay boasts a beautiful outdoor space, complete with lush botanical gardens. These gardens provide a serene backdrop for a family stroll, allowing visitors to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the park.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

For younger visitors, the park’s playground is a hub of excitement and activity. Here, children can climb, slide, and explore in a safe and stimulating environment, ensuring that there’s never a dull moment during the visit.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park, with its combination of interactive exhibits, live animal encounters, and playful outdoor spaces, stands as a premier destination for families in Redding.

It’s a place where learning comes alive, nature is embraced, and unforgettable family memories are made.

4. Sacramento River Trail: Scenic Winter Hikes in Redding

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

The Sacramento River Trail in Redding is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a scenic escape into the beauty of Northern California’s landscapes.

This trail, winding along the banks of the majestic Sacramento River, provides a picturesque setting for a range of activities, from leisurely walks to more vigorous hikes.

As you embark on the trail, you’re greeted with stunning views of the river, complemented by the diverse flora and fauna that thrive along its edges.

The path meanders through lush greenery and offers occasional glimpses of local wildlife, making it a perfect spot for birdwatching or nature photography.

The trail’s well-maintained routes ensure a pleasant experience for hikers of all skill levels.

One of the highlights of the Sacramento River Trail is its connectivity to other notable landmarks in Redding, including the famous Sundial Bridge.

This allows adventurers to combine their trail experience with a visit to this architectural marvel, adding an element of discovery to their journey. The bridge itself offers spectacular views and serves as a great vantage point to appreciate the river’s grandeur.

The trail also features several spots ideal for rest and reflection, where visitors can pause to take in the serene environment or enjoy a picnic with a view.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful solo hike or a fun day out with family and friends, the Sacramento River Trail caters to all.

In Redding, the Sacramento River Trail stands out as a must-visit destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in natural beauty and tranquility.

Its blend of scenic vistas, accessible trails, and connections to local landmarks make it a cherished path for both residents and visitors alike.

5. Shasta Dam Tours: Unveiling Engineering Marvels in Redding

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Shasta Dam, located just a short drive from Redding, stands as a monumental testament to human ingenuity and engineering prowess.

Offering guided tours, the dam presents a unique opportunity to delve into the inner workings of one of the largest concrete dams in the United States and learn about its critical role in water management, hydroelectric power generation, and environmental stewardship.

As visitors embark on the Shasta Dam Tour, they are greeted with not only an educational experience but also awe-inspiring views of the massive structure and its surrounding landscapes.

The tour guides provide fascinating insights into the dam’s history, construction, and its impact on California’s water and energy systems.

This interactive journey takes you through the heart of the dam, showcasing the intricate design and operational complexities that lie behind this impressive structure.

The tour also offers a chance to appreciate the dam’s strategic significance in the region. You’ll learn about its role in flood control, irrigation, and its contribution to renewable energy production.

The panoramic views from atop the dam are breathtaking, overlooking the vast expanse of Shasta Lake and the surrounding mountains, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.

Visiting Shasta Dam is not just about witnessing a marvel of modern engineering; it’s an educational adventure that leaves you with a deeper understanding of the vital interplay between nature and human innovation.

For those in Redding, the Shasta Dam Tours are an indispensable experience, providing a unique perspective on the region’s natural resources and technological advancements.

6. Shasta State Historic Park: A Step Back in Time

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Delve into California’s rich history at Shasta State Historic Park, a remarkable site just west of Redding.

This park is a well-preserved reminder of the bustling Gold Rush era, featuring ruins, restored buildings, and a museum housing fascinating artifacts.

As you stroll through the old streets of what was once a thriving mining town, you’ll be transported to the 1800s, with historic structures like the courthouse and jail offering a vivid glimpse into the past.

The park is an ideal destination for history buffs and families alike, providing an educational and immersive experience that brings California’s golden history to life.

7. Lake Shasta Caverns: Discovering Natural Wonders Near Redding

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Experience the underground magic of the Lake Shasta Caverns, a geological marvel located a short drive from Redding.

These magnificent caverns, accessible by a scenic boat ride across Shasta Lake, reveal a hidden world of stalactites, stalagmites, and crystalline formations.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Guided tours lead visitors through this subterranean wonderland, sharing insights into the caverns’ formation and history.

The Lake Shasta Caverns are not just a natural spectacle but also an educational journey, perfect for families and adventurers seeking to explore the depths of Earth’s ancient wonders.

8. Redding Civic Auditorium: A Hub for Cultural Events

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

The Redding Civic Auditorium is the cornerstone of the city’s cultural scene, hosting a diverse array of events throughout the year.

This venue is a bustling hub of activity and entertainment, from concerts to theatrical performances to conferences and community gatherings.

Whether you’re catching a live performance or attending a special event, the Redding Civic Auditorium promises a vibrant and enriching experience.

9. Burney Falls: A Breathtaking Day Trip from Redding

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Just an hour’s drive from Redding lies Burney Falls, a spectacular natural wonder in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.

This majestic waterfall, renowned for its 129-foot cascade and vibrant blue waters, offers a stunning display of nature’s beauty.

Visitors can enjoy various activities, from hiking the surrounding trails to picnicking near the falls.

The sight of water thundering down into the pool below is not just a visual treat but also a serene escape from the hustle of everyday life, making Burney Falls a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

10. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area: Exploring Nature’s Playground Near Redding

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, nestled near Redding, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. This expansive area boasts crystal-clear lakes, scenic waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails.

Whether you’re kayaking on Whiskeytown Lake, exploring the hidden falls, or trekking through the lush forests, the area offers endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

It’s a place where visitors can connect with nature, enjoy a range of recreational activities, and soak in the breathtaking landscapes that define Northern California.

11. Lassen Volcanic National Park: A Journey Through Geological Wonders

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Lassen Volcanic National Park, not far from Redding, is a winter haven for those who love snowy landscapes and serene natural beauty.

This park offers a unique, snow-draped environment featuring volcanic peaks and frozen lakes, ideal for visitors seeking a tranquil yet adventurous winter escape.

While the park’s vehicle access is limited in winter due to snow and rockfall, it opens up a wonderful world for exploration on foot or by bicycle.

The snow-covered trails invite winter enthusiasts for snowshoeing or skiing, offering a quiet and enchanting experience amidst the park’s stunning geological wonders.

If a snowy, picturesque adventure is what you seek during your weekend getaway, Lassen Volcanic National Park is an unmissable destination.

Where To Stay In Redding

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

When considering where to stay in Redding, the Sheraton Redding Hotel at the Sundial Bridge stands out as a top choice, especially based on my personal experience staying there.

Located conveniently near the iconic Sundial Bridge, this hotel offers not only comfort but also an ideal starting point for exploring the city.

From the moment I stepped into the Sheraton, I was greeted with a warm, welcoming atmosphere and top-notch hospitality.

The rooms are well-appointed, offering a perfect blend of luxury and functionality. What struck me most was how each room provided a sense of tranquility and relaxation, essential after a day of exploring Redding.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

The proximity to the Sundial Bridge and the Sacramento River Trail is a significant plus.

I found it incredibly convenient to start my mornings with a scenic walk across the bridge or along the river, immersing myself in the natural beauty of the area right from the doorstep of the hotel.

The amenities at the Sheraton Redding also contribute to a pleasant stay. The on-site restaurant serves various delicious meals, and I particularly enjoyed the breakfast offerings.

Each morning, the breakfast provided a delightful start to the day with a range of tasty and satisfying options.

The hotel staff consistently went above and beyond to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience, making it a standout accommodation choice in Redding.

Staying at the Sheraton Redding Hotel at the Sundial Bridge is more than just booking a room; it’s about experiencing the essence of Redding with comfort, convenience, and exceptional service.

11 Magical Things to Do in Redding for a Winter Weekend Getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Whether you’re in town for leisure or business, this hotel provides an ideal base for your stay.

Dining Options In Redding

  • Moonstone Bistro: Renowned for its innovative and seasonal cuisine, Moonstone Bistro is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a menu that features fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their dishes are a blend of modern American cuisine with a creative twist, making each meal a memorable experience.
  • View 202: Offering a splendid dining experience with scenic views of the Sacramento River, View 202 is known for its upscale American cuisine. The restaurant’s patio seating is particularly popular, providing a beautiful backdrop for enjoying their expertly prepared dishes, which range from steaks to seafood, all crafted with a focus on quality and flavor.
  • Mosaic Restaurant: This restaurant is celebrated for its fusion of global flavors, offering a menu that includes a variety of Mediterranean, Asian, and American dishes. Mosaic is perfect for those looking to enjoy a diverse culinary experience in a chic and contemporary setting.

Each of these restaurants offers a unique dining experience, reflecting the diverse culinary landscape of Redding. Whether you’re looking for an elegant dinner, a meal with a view, or a taste of international cuisine, these establishments are sure to impress.

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Transform your winter weekend into an unforgettable adventure in Redding! 🎇 #Travel #Redding #California #Norcal Click To Tweet

Travel Realizations

Reflecting on a journey through Redding, California, it’s evident why it stands as a perfect winter getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Redding captivates with its stunning natural scenery, rich cultural experiences, and delightful culinary offerings.

From the tranquility of the Sundial Bridge to the adventure in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Redding offers a diverse array of experiences.

Whether seeking relaxation or adventure, Redding provides an ideal escape, combining the serenity of nature with the warmth of its community.

It’s a destination that not only offers a break from the daily hustle but also leaves lasting impressions, inviting you to return and discover more.

Disclosure: While this post was in partnership with The Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, all opinions shared here are solely my own.

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Chirasree Banerjee

Hello. My name is Chirasree. I have been traveling for almost 11 years to places all over the world. I enter into a separate reality during my travels and enjoy the allure of escape from the mundane. I seek beauty through nature and human-made creations. Because beauty is powerful. I seek knowledge. I observe, absorb, and write about the places I visit and the profound realizations and inspirations that each place has to offer.